Information overload

This new entry has its origin in the book by Yves Citton Pour une écologie de l’attention. Useful notes to new approaches of complexity, in this case under the appearance of information overload.

One of the ideas that I take from the book is the relationship between periods of information overload and social, artistic or political changes.

The mechanism of change may be described as follows:

1)    Production (and distribution) of information grows gradually, reaching saturation levels

2)    Information overload is translated in growing inequalities, social tension and new individual and collective pathologies (not only pathologies: interesting explanation of the impressionism as a translation of the information overload in the arts)

3)    Unrest causes increase pressure to invent new tools allowing the information overload management

4)    In a given period of time the tools are produced and the information overload is overcome

5)    But the same tools allowing to manage bigger amounts of information are finally responsible of a greater volume of information production

6)    The next episode of information overload is on the way, but now with even bigger peaks than the previous one (you can go from here to point 1)


info overload


Now let’s think of the emergence of writing, the print, the encyclopaedia, ICT and the Internet as successive stages in the process described above.

The tools for a systemic change are going to give us back the ability to see the whole picture (until a new cycle is completed), and they are at the base of the new stage.

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